Businesses today collect vast quantities of data in search of insights that will help them make better decisions, solve problems, understand customers, boost sales, improve processes and optimize costs. In the process, they are also creating significant challenges around how to store, manage and analyze all that data.
In a recent ESG Research report, 88 percent of organizations said that retaining more data for longer periods will create business value. They also noted that the “save everything” mentality contributes to rising storage costs and complexity. Eighty percent say determining which data to keep is a complicated process, and 58 percent believe they may have mistakenly eliminated data with value.
With global data creation increasing by nearly 25 percent annually, there’s no relief in sight.
“The amount of digital data created over the next five years will be greater than twice the amount of data created since the advent of digital storage,” says Dave Reinsel, a senior vice president with IDC. “The question is: How much of it should be stored?”
How Archiving Helps
Data archival solutions can help resolve the question. An archiving solution allows organizations to move inactive or “cold” data out of production systems and into long-term storage. In addition to conserving critical storage resources, archiving ensures that the data remains available if needed in the future.
Multiple government and industry regulations mandate long-term retention of certain types of data, and organizations must be able to produce records on demand. Those capabilities are also important for businesses that become involved in litigation and must produce emails, files or other forms of data as part of the e-discovery process.
Data consolidation is another benefit of data archival. It is estimated that the average organization has data residing in more than a dozen official locations, as well as many other informal repositories such as unsanctioned cloud storage, email, portals, messaging services and personal devices. Archiving can pull cold data from these locations and apply deduplication and compression techniques to reduce your digital footprint.
Fast, efficient record retrieval is one of the key characteristics that distinguish archival from conventional backup solutions. Backups are copies of active data that can be used to restore data to a previous point in time if data is lost or corrupted. However, backup doesn’t organize or index the information, making it difficult to find specific records. Archiving captures, indexes and secures each record individually, enabling fast search and retrieve operations.
Options and Benefits
Tape remains a popular medium for on-premises archival solutions, but cloud-based solutions offer scalability, accessibility and cost advantages. Cloud archiving services such as Amazon S3 Glacier, Microsoft Azure Blob Storage and Google Cloud Archive Storage are highly automated, moving inactive data to a centralized archive based on policies you set.
These services often cost less than a penny per gigabyte — an extreme discount compared to the cost of long-term retention on primary storage systems. The cost to store 1000TB of non-critical data on primary storage is estimated to be more than $650,000 per year.
In addition to cost and compliance considerations, archiving can improve backup and recovery processes by moving cold data off storage systems. This reduces the size of backups and eliminates the restoration of inactive files.
Data is only valuable if it can be evaluated and used efficiently, but overburdened storage systems are making that more difficult. Call us to learn more about using a data archival solution to protect and preserve inactive data without wasting valuable storage resources.